Summer 2021 Email Links

I’m not a huge fan of links articles, but I may occasionally make an exception. Here’s a few juicy morsels about email from this past summer. Yes, it’s still summertime, technically, if you live in North America, but I’ve got a little collection building up and I want to share.

Email is still Money

Titan Email got a $300 million dollar valuation from WordPress parent company, Automattic, via Series A funding. I had not heard of Titan previously, but I’m curious to put them on the review list.

In the same vein, email provider Superhuman closed a funding round of $75 million. I’m not a fan of Superhuman. I’ll explain why at another time. But it’s similar to my disregard for Hey, Basecamp’s so-called solution for better email.

Both of these events, though, show that email isn’t dying anytime soon. Sorry, Slack. While these may be small numbers compared to Salesforce’s now-complete $27 billion (yes, b, billion) acquisition of Slack this summer, they aren’t nothing either.

Gmail continues questionable privacy practices

A blogger named Jamie reports that Gmail reduces deliverability on your outbound emails to Gmail recipients if you include hyperlinks from in them.

I’m not fan of link shortening services (just put the real hyperlink in the email), but if Jamie’s correct, this just seems overly protective by Google and a bit invasive to scan your actual hyperlinks. One wonders if Google is also recording all hyperlinks sent via email to Gmail recipients to get a sense of the public’s traction with different websites. I would not be surprised in the slightest.

More Privacy Initiatives for Email

Not to be outdone by Apple’s email privacy initiatives announced at June’s WWDC 2021 event, DuckDuckGo just opened up email as a service, along with privacy related protection by blocking trackers for their newly-announced service. It’s in beta now, but it could be one more death knell of modern-day internet marketing firms. As part of the service, you can get a free email address. Very nice.

I’ll be interested to try this one out, compare it to what Apple is doing, and also what the new Firefox Relay is promoting.

Email to be here forever

The always interesting Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols at Computerworld, went on a bit of a rant in his July 20th post, Email Now and Forever. I almost feel like he’s been reading Just Use Email. One of my favorite paragraphs is this:

Email also has another fundamental advantage over messaging and audio and video conferencing. Email enables people to work together regardless of work schedule or time zone. And it readily lends itself to archiving and record-keeping. These two reasons alone ensure that for now, and forever onward, email will remain the primary way business communications get done.

Legal Contracts by Email

Dev Lawyer says in his post, Contract by Email, what I’ve long argued: that there is no need for document signing services to effectively agree, legally, to any binding contract. Case law already proves it. And he references legal blogger Dell Toedt, III’s post here that gives all the case law references. Fascinating stuff. No one is suggesting that the the docu-sign services are in danger, but at least for many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a good version history and just using email may be all they need.

After reading both, I was reminded of McSweeney’s humorous 2011 post Alright, Fine, I’ll add a Disclaimer to my Emails.

Social Media should be more like Email

Update: For some reason, The Reboot revamped their website and this post is now MIA. I’ll relink to it if/when they repost it.

The Reboot gets two thumbs up for my favorite post of the month so far. Except that it came out in February 2021 and I just now discovered it. So it counts for this summer in my mind.

The post is titled Breaking Tech Open: Why Social Platforms Should Work More Like Email and argues that the decentralized nature of email is actually its biggest strength. Sound familiar? If you’ve been on Just Use Email for more than ten minutes, you can hear the echoes.

It’s a long article, but worth reading. I can’t help but drawing attention to this one quote:

The stability of email’s underlying protocols makes it a low-risk technology. Compared to the Facebook API, which changes multiple times per year, email’s consistency is attractive to developers and companies. The same libraries and tools that large providers use are all open source and available for free, with implementations in multiple programming languages, providing a solid foundation that reassures developers that the ground won’t move out from under them.

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